The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Robert J. 'Bob' Bale


DULUTH, Minn. – Robert J. "Bob" Bale, 79, of Wakefield, Mich., passed away peacefully early Sunday morning, Sept. 3, 2017, at Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, after a sudden illness.

Robert was born on Nov. 24, 1937, in Lakeview, Mich., a son of Frank and Mary (Backman) Bale. He attended Luther L. Wright High School in Ironwood, Mich., and graduated in 1955.

Robert proudly served his country in the U.S. Army, and then spent the rest of his career as a welder at A.O. Smith "Tower Automotive" in Milwaukee.

Robert married Catherine Ballone, his sweetheart, on Feb. 9, 1963; their 54 year marriage was an inspiration to everyone who knew them. Their family was always the most important thing in their lives, and they will always remember him as a kind, gentle and patient man, who always lived his life with integrity.

Robert spent his time taking care of his wife and home, fixing things for others who needed help, and relaxing with friends playing horseshoes, being in the woods, on the waters, or on the ice. He was a generous and witty individual who loved conversations with everyone he met and shared his stories, humor and talents with family and friends.

Robert is survived by his beloved wife, Catherine; a son, Kevin, Richfield, Wis .; his son-in-law, Jeff Knapp, Menomonee Falls, Wis .; three grandsons, Robert, Taylor and Jordan Knapp; a brother, James (Joan), Ironwood; three brothers-in-law, Joseph Mezzano, Oshkosh, Wis., Jim (Gail) Ballone, Costa Mesa, Calif., and Joe (Bonnie) Ballone, Wakefield; three sisters-in-law, Barb (Norb) Gust, Cudahy, Wis., Peggy Ballone, Bessemer, Mich., and Jane Ballone, Lake Gogebic, Mich .; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, great-nieces and great-nephews.

He was predeceased by his parents; a daughter, Laura Knapp, in 2014; two brothers, John (Barbara) and Marion "Tuffy;" two sisters, Mary (John) Perlberg and Helen Mezzano; and two brothers-in-law, Theodore "Ted" Ballone and Andrew Ballone.

The Bale family will meet with family and friends to celebrate a life well lived at Cornerstone Church, N10344 Mill St., in Ramsay, Mich., on Saturday, Sept. 9, starting at 9:30 a.m. The honor guard will begin at 9:45 a.m., and conclude at 10:15 a.m., with military rites under the auspices of Wakefield American Legion Geroux Post 11 and Wakefield Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9084 Honor Guard, assisted by the U.P. Funeral Honors Team. A memorial service will follow at 10:30 a.m., with the Revs. Todd Winkler and Roy Speck officiating.

Luncheon will be served at the church hall after completion of the ceremony.

The family would like to thank all those who have helped during this difficult time. They especially thank Joe, Nate and all the other hospital staff at Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center for their exceptional care.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield. Condolences may be expressed online at


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